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Our older son has been going to a private school in Berkeley. While we've been happy with the school, our younger son is going to be due to start school just around the corner and the financial reality of sending two kids to private school is hitting us. We are lucky to live in Upper Rockridge where the local schools are very well regarded. With back to school just around the corner, we have a dilemma that we need to resolve quickly. We have a spot at Chabot and are on the wait list for Hillcrest, but have been told we have a good chance of getting in. If we pull our son out of private school, we really want to make the best decision about school. We are not sure whether Chabot or Hillcrest is best for him and would appreciate more current feedback from parents out there.
So far pros for us at Hillcrest: walkable, good academics, would make local friends, small, goes K-8 Cons for Hillcrest: We've heard and read about bullying which I am hugely concerned about, campus is small with not many outdoor play options, facilities not very new, small also means more limited social options, we've read there is a lack of diversity
So far pros for Chabot: nice new facilities and gorgeous campus, good academics, read that is a very nice community with a great headmaster Cons for Chabot: Larger, only goes K-5 then what, short drive
My son is sensitive but also social. Just want to make sure he's in environment that is welcoming, but teaches him a love of learning. Your thoughts, experiences, feedback are most welcome. Thanks! - School Dilemma
We just got notified our son (who's starting Kindergarten this fall) was assigned to Chabot. While we're thrilled about this, I'm not so thrilled about the extended day care options. The only one I can find is Adventure Time, and frankly, it's pretty expensive. Does anybody know about other options? I start work at 8am in San Pablo, and have to drop off our younger son in Berkeley first, so I'd have to drop off our older (Kindergarten age) one probably around 7am-ish. I wouldn't be able to pick him up until about 5pm. Thanks!
Eventually all kids who need pre or post care ended up at AT. Reasons being ease, convenience, quality of care, reliability. As soon as you start looking for off-campus care, things get more complicated and there may be costs you haven't calculated yet (transportation). Sorry for not really answering your question, but maybe you need to think it through more. And other advice- SIGN up for AT on the official sign up day! You can always cancel or reduce your hours later, but if you don't sign up in the spring, you may not get a space in the fall! Mom of 2
I was wondering if anyone can give me any current information on Chabot? We are moving from Berkeley to Oakland and are seriously considering taking our 5 year old out of private school to save money. I hear mostly good things about the school but the ''it's ALL about the teacher'' comments worry me. What if you get a bad teacher? How bad is it and what does that mean? Thanks anon
Yes, there are a few teachers that have not been my personal fave, and I was initially very disappointed when my child was assigned, but my child was NOT scarred or damaged by the experience. And there are some teachers who I believe deserve 5 times their pay, awards and recognition.
Also, teachers retire, move and transfer. This year there were three new teachers and next year there will be at least three, maybe 4 new teachers. IF you get a teacher that you have heard negative things about, you can 1) talk to the principal and/or 2) wait and see how it actually works for your child and then 3) if it's really not working, see option 1. So, sorry to give you a sort of ''gray'' answer - but life is like that! Mom of Two
Over the years, the more you get to know other parents, the more variety of stories you hear - and realize that a) people prefer to talk about negative experiences more than positive b) there will never be solutions to issues that please everyone c) your child's experience can be affected by things completely out of your control d) no school is 100% perfect d) sometimes you (or your child) learns the most from the toughest experience. This, of course, can apply to every single school.
What I also specifically like about Chabot: I have a few favorite teachers and staff, the recent renovations have been a huge improvement, Adventure Time aftercare staff are outstanding, the parent involvement and commitment are terrific and do a lot to enhance the learning environment, the principal works very hard, and several staff members send their own children there. Elena
If your kid needs special assistance for any reason, I think the child is likely to have a better experience than most. The child will qualify for an individual learning program and that will open up resources and result in administrators and others giving extra thought to what teacher might best suit their needs, etc. I think this is a huge advantage in dealing with the underfunded public education system at the moment.
And, I would disagree with the commenter who said that people like to talk about the negative. I have found completely the opposite. Among most parents I have found overwhelming boosterism. I would also note that while several staff do send their kids to the school I've observed that those people's children also end up in the classrooms of the teachers generally considered to be the best. anon
Re: Oakland elementary that values creativity, peace, fun, learning
Public elementary schools in Oakland. Our child goes to Chabot. Based on the numbers I think it is one of the ''best'' K-5 schools in Oakland. The PTA raises A LOT of money every year for enrichment programs. But I think it all comes down to whether your kid is assigned a good teacher. There is no grade where you wouldn't be secretly or openly hoping to get a particular teacher and to NOT get one of the others. Another consideration -- how much will the administration listen to the family about what sort of teacher will work for your child? At Chabot the administration seems to listen a bit in advance of placement, but will do nothing after your child is assigned a class. I admire teachers, I have no idea how they keep elementary aged children engaged for 6 hours a day, but I have found the quality of teaching at Chabot to be not nearly as good as I expected based on all the positive things I heard prior to enrolling our child. Chabot is a large school, I think there are 96 kindergarteners this year and they eat lunch and have their main recess with 96 first graders. Two years ago there were only 80 in each grade K-3, these numbers have gone up at all schools due to the budget crisis. In that environment most of the kids could use a little more social/emotional support, but there is almost none. Given the budget constraints the school does a very good job, but if your child's teacher isn't a good fit, it will be a long year. realist
Re: Gifted 4 year old: best school?
I read with interest the post about your 4 year old. Isn't it amazing? Our daughter was a super-early reader as well (started at 3 and 1/2 and was reading pretty sophisticated chapter books like Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz series and The Little House series before kindergarten even started).
And...we sent her to our local neighborhood public school! (Chabot, in Oakland)I want to reassure you that she still progressed dramatically as a reader every year in school. I felt that the learning-to-read instruction the class received only helped her writing and spelling emerge-(she had somehow learned to read whole words, not phoentically.) and she never lost her enthusiasm for learning; no one ever held her back... When asked how her schoolday was, she'd say things like, ''We're learning to read today!!!'' She absolutely loved the whole scene-- sitting in circle, the hands -on projects, etc... Truthfully, the social part of school was always harder for her, so we wanted to do whatever we could to help keep her connected to other kids.
I say all this to encourage you not to do too much to separate or isolate your child further. Ok- he reads. You'll find, as we did, that other kids come to kindergarten as readers, too... and you'll also find that reading is just one piece of your child; a whole, balanced child is social, physical, etc...
We are thinking about sending our daughter to our neighborhood school, which is Chabot Elementary in Oakland. She would be entering in first grade, as she is currently at a private school. I am hoping that some Chabot parents could give me the highlights/lowlights of going to Chabot. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!! Prospective Chabot Parent
There's not enough space here to go through the things I really like about Chabot and have been really good for our kids, and the things that make me shake my head in disbelief. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to talk. C
Re: Small public elementary school in Oakland
What I see as a Chabot parent, is that all K classes are 20. If they go over, there is a financial penalty (which the school took two years ago to accommodate 6 extra children). I know that Chabot is considered a good school because of test scores and and heavy parent involvement (volunteers, fundraising to support extra programs). Therefore, a good school will always be working at it's limits - 20 per class, never, ever any less. I do not know of any public school, especially in OUSD, that could restrict class size to any less. As for your other requirements, well, with my two children, I have not seen much in the way of ''thoughtful and innovative teaching methods''. Physical activity is recess. Language opportunities were Spanish for all K classes last year, and occasionally Mandarin was offered as an afterschool class that you pay for. Music is also taught to K classes, but it's really just singing - no instruments, music theory, anything heavy duty. Best advice: tour the schools. Mom of Two
We are trying to figure out how much we should worry about rough play and bullying at lunch and other less supervised free play times at Chabot Elementary, just because it seems so big. We know that it's a great community school in many ways, but we want to know specifically if parents on this network have children who have been hit, shoved, kicked, bullied seriously? If so, was it addressed in a an effective and timely way? Are disciplinary policies and supervision of the playground effective in eliminating most troubling behavior? In particular, we would love to hear from people who have children who have been at Chabot with Mr. Meyer as the principal and who have had experience with full day kindergarten. Thanks so much for your honest feedback--we really appreciate the help from fellow parents. We understand that people have different philosophies about how toughing it out on the playground can make you stronger, but we are mostly wondering what the facts are before we get around to the philosophical discussion. wondering mother
My experience is this: there is a lot of playground supervision and plenty of resources for the kids to ask for help, or to report unsafe behavior. However, the treatment of boys versus girls was dramatic in our experience and had a negative impact on our son (he spent a lot of time in trouble for behavior that was accepted with girls).
There is some bullying - that occurs at all schools. I do not think it was any worse at Chabot, and there is even greater supervision of the K kids. They also divide up the lunch periods and the playgrounds so older kids and younger kids are not out together. I like Chabot - it has been a great school for our daughter, with a very supportive community and active volunteers. Like all schools it helps if you are connected and involved with what is going on - Maggie
With the construction next year, however, the school and playgrounds will be much, much more crowded. If you are concerned about your child getting bumped around on the playground, next year may not be the best one to start at the school. There will be a lot of students in a small amount of space, even though all efforts are being made to minimize the crowding. Consider this carefully, keeping in mind, of course, that Chabot is a high-demand school and with the new building it may be hard to transfer back in future years -- even for neighborhood parents. Safety First
The kindergarteners do get their recesses to themselves, and there is plenty of supervision. I've been happy with that situation. But we personally had bullying start in 2nd grade, and mixed feelings on how it was handled.
Bullying can be very insidious, inconsistent and sneaky and come from friends as well as those not in your child's peer group. So detecting it for what it is is harder than we expected. In the end, what worked for us was giving our child better ''scripts'' - i.e. If they say/do this, then you say/do that. And reminding our child that he always has the power of ''No!'' and the power of walking away.
OUSD as a whole and Chabot in particular do like to think they have very strict anti-bullying rules and tactics. But I have yet to come across anything anywhere that can really apply solutions in real life. Sometimes I think ''kids are kids'' and this is simply a primeval way of defining pecking order; can we really change basic human psychology with a couple of quick lessons on ''no dissing, no name calling''?
One thing that would help and I wish Chabot could do is to simply have more recess supervision - but they're lacking manpower. Most of the teachers don't get much of a lunch break anyway, so to have a rota where they take turns watching the kids doesn't always work. You can't always get parents to volunteer for that, and frankly, I don't think all parents are qualified to either recognize bullying, intervene appropriately, or really understand the situation. Parents are more likely to label and make false assumptions. But then again, just more adult presence could help.
So, I doubt this eases any of your fears... But I can't think that Chabot is very different than any other public school in this respect. Good intentions, a decent attempt, falling down due to lack of manpower. Out of their control.
However, it doesn't mean we've given up or pulling our kids out or hating the principal. We keep talking and reminding and doing what we can, helping anyway we can. Mom of Two
We're looking for more recent information/feedback on Chabot Elementary, particularly on ability to address individual needs of students, social/emotional development dimension, and also on how much of the time is spent doing worksheets, etc. We have 2 boys, one in private kindergarten, and we're probably going to try to place our 4 year old in public school... Thanks!! zoned for Chabot
A big deal is made by all about how it's a neighborhood school and your kids can walk there and all their friends live close by. I've found that to be less of a big deal, and am personally more concerned with the quality of teaching than how close your child's friends live.
If you've had exposure to one of the great private schools in the area then you might be disappointed. You do save a lot of money though! Good luck with your decision, it's not an easy one. Feeling lukewarm about Chabot
ALL public school teachers do have to meet certain criteria, but they do try and figure out the best way to get there that suits their personality and teaching style.
Our older child has had some particular issues that needed extra attention - and we found that most of the teachers have been sympathetic and keen to make things work for him. As for time doing worksheets - if you mean in the classroom - can't say for every teacher - they all have different approaches. If you mean homework - again, varies.
Some K teachers hand out the monthly homework packet as merely ''suggestions'', others expect it done and signed. And then with each progressive grade - it varies - they all have the same curriculum, but some add extra, some say it's nightly, some weekly. Some say ''all I want is an honest effort'' and some say ''about an hour every night of solid work''.
We like Chabot because we see a lot of parental involvement - a lot of support as well as criticism - which is good since it makes us really consider other approaches and solutions. It's not perfect, but what school is? But, then again, we didn't ''shop around'' since we can't afford private at all.
Sure, if we had the funds to find a private school that suited every aspect of our child's style, personality, issues I'm sure we'd be tempted...
One thing worth mentioning - Chabot will be re-built starting next year. Good and bad - since this will mean that the school will be a construction zone for awhile, and will be physically ''uncomfortable'' for awhile. But, like any remodel, the results will be totally worth it. Chabot Mom
I was wondering if any parents could comment on Chabot
Elementary. I remember hearing that Denise Saddler was an
amazing principal, but she has promoted and there is someone
new. HOw does he seem to be doing?
Do they do project-based learning? Are the teachers supported
and enthusiastic? I bet the parents are supportive. Does every
kid who needs afterschool care get it? Or is there some kind of
lottery for that?
looking at my options.
Hello friends: I have a son starting kindergarten next year (Fall 2005) and I am planning to try intradistrict transfer. My question is for those of you out there who have considered intradistrict transfer to either Chabot or Peralta. Why did you choose one over the other? Are there pros and cons for each I should be aware of? Also, I'd appreciate any information about how you actually did the transfer process. Thanks-- Kate
We are thinking of sending our son to Anthony Chabot Elementary and I would be very interested in hearing any feedback about the school. Interested Parent
Not so great things about Chabot--need to adhere strictly to Open Court requirements and do group teach rather than individualize student instruction. I met several months ago w/ the Oakland superintendent & deputy superintendent about bringing in flexibility and project-based learning to Open Court (based upon our child's needs)--they were very responsive and were going to pursue those changes this year--but then the fiscal crisis hit. But there's a strong parent & community organizing effort to keep the Superintendent in place, which would spell eventual flexibility to meet individual student needs in the reading program--but not sure when that will actually take place.
Good luck w/ whatever you decide--after struggling w/ school issues for so long (investigated the private school option & actually got into several good schools, tried charter school) we've realized that no educational experience will be perfect for your child and much of it is what your highest priorities are as a family and knowing that you will need to supplement the learning (be it creative engagement, critical thinking, or the standards) in some way at home. Margaretta
Open Court is not so exciting, but the teachers seem great and many of the kids are quite academic. There is a GATE program and a genuine interest in the needs of different kids...
We came from a more academically accelerated school previously, but for me socialization, safety and diversity are very important and Chabot offers all that. New Chabot Parent
I have my 6 year old son at Chabot and I can't give it enough praise. Very caring teachers, but especially a super principal (fun, involved, active). What worked for us, too, is their after school care program, Adventure Time, right on site, run by Val and Valerie, who are experienced and loving and attentive. The school is being renovated and may not look like much at first sight, but I highly recommend it. Annet
My two children have attended Chabot by way of intradistrict transfers, and the odds of getting in change from year to year depending upon the demand within the Rockridge neighborhood, and from "outside" neighborhood folks applying through the Oakland intradistrict transfer program. At the moment, because of considerable upgrades to the school facility and numerous other improvements in the school overall, there is a higher than normal demand for Chabot, or at least this is how it appears to me. The "normal" channel is to apply for a transfer by filling out paperwork some time in Feb. or March. I will try to keep up on this and notify the list when the Oakland transfer "window" period opens up--it's usually a 4-6 week period of time. You have to pick up the paperwork at the central OUSD Admin office down the street from the Oakland Museum on Tenth. Your priority is based on whether you have other children at the school, what after-care program you use, and no doubt other factors which aren't publicized (such as gender, race, etc.). No one in the intradistrict transfer office is very helpful or knowledgeable, so you have to sort of feel the process out for yourself, unfortunately. But here's the thing. Many times people get turned down through the intradistrict transfer process when there are spaces available at the school. So it's always a good idea to call the principal at the school (Wendi Caporicci 879-1060) and check in from time to time during the spring, and summer, and even during the first week of school. The more persistent you are at the school site, the better are your chances of getting in. This September, we had many available unfilled spaces, and we may still have unfilled spaces at various grade levels if anyone is interested.
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